DRIVERS FOR VET PRACTICES
One of the ways that UKWT has played our part to help wildlife in the past (before we closed because the demand for our services was too high and we needed to hire staff to be able to provide a reliable service) was to provide wildlife transport support to Vet Practices across the UK (40, to be precise, over 18 months) picking up wildlife casualties/orphans from them and moving them onto local high welfare Wildlife Rescues.
Of the approximately 5000 Vet Practices (across the UK) they can see between them, at 30 animals each, on average, 150,000 wildlife casualties/orphans a month, during the Spring/Summer months. Supporting these Vet Practices - with their own teams of Volunteer Wildlife Transport Drivers - to confidently treat and process and then pass on these wild lives (to high welfare local Rescues) will save many 100,000s of lives and ensure that Vet Practices (in the words of Vet Professionals themselves) are especially rewarding places to work in: also supporting the well being of Veterinary staff.
It can be difficult for busy Vet Practices to treat wildlife casualties (and not just euthanase on arrival) because a Vet Practice is very rarely a suitable space for a wild life, for more than a few hours. There is too much noise & often no fit for purpose, quiet space for predators and prey to be kept separate and where biosecurity can also be strictly controlled. Thus, wildlife casualties & orphans who are dropped into most Vet Practices, by members of the public, always need to be moved onto a Rescue Centre, after first aid has been provided, for longer term rehab ASAP.
By providing Vet Practices with their own list of local Volunteer Wildlife Transport Drivers (recruited, equipped & funded by UKWT) we support Vets to treat wildlife and then move them out of the Practice site instead of thinking that their only logistical option is to ‘Put To Sleep.’
With 100 Vet Practices already on a waiting list for a team of our Volunteer Wildlife Transport Drivers, we hope to be supporting the successful treatment and processing of 3000 wildlife casualties/orphans a month during 2024 (supporting 100 Vet Practices) and 150,000 wildlife casualties/orphans a month by 2028 (when we hope to be supporting the full 5000 Practices).
WE HAVE BEEN ASKED, "HOW CAN YOU PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR SUCH A HIGH NUMBER OF WILD LIVES?"
The answer is simple... We can provide enough Volunteer Wildlife Transport Drivers (and have staff to oversee their ongoing welfare and to also ensure that the Vet Practice/Driver relationships run smoothly) for Vet Practices across the UK because recruiting, equipping & allocating Drivers to Vet Practices - and then overseeing their welfare - is all that we do. (We can/are also providing this service for Wildlife Rescues, but that's a different story). Once an incredible, kind & wildlife loving Driver has joined our UKWT Database & been set up with the right carriers & disinfectant & been allocated to their local Vet Practice, it is these inspiring individuals who put in the hours to pick up wildlife and move them across to local Rescues. Apart from committing the time to check in with all of our Driver community and make sure that everyone is OK and happy and that all is running smoothly, our work is done.
This means that we can start by supporting 100 Vet Practices with their - on average - 3000 wildlife casualties/orphans a month and then, once we are safe in the knowledge that all is running smoothly (and perhaps putting in some extra protocols & procedures over time, to improve on any Driver welfare standards, if needed) we can focus on building our Driver Database & supporting more Vet Practices to offer emergency medical care to more wild lives.
Before the launch of our Emergency Fundraiser, I spoke to a number of Vet Practices & Vet Professionals and went back through all of our UKWT Transport Records to ensure that I knew exactly how many Drivers (minimum) should be allocated to a Vet Practice each month, to be able to cope with the demand of 30 wild lives a month. With this information, I drafted exactly what staff we would need to have on our UKWT team, to be able to recruit and equip and allocate and then look after this number of Drivers, during 2024.
(On a separate note, that I won't go into detail about now, I have also factored in how many Wildlife Care Badge Rescues want Driver support from us too and I have made sure that we have enough staff putting in enough hours to meet the demand of both groups).
Why do we need staff, why can't we run off Admin Volunteers?
Here's the answer... For 2 1/2 years we have run on Volunteers only.
HERE’S ALL THE TIME THAT HAS BEEN PUT INTO UKWT (FREE) THUS FAR...
I have worked out that I alone (based on a theoretical minimum wage salary) have put in over £102,000 of time, free, to run UKWT.
Our Drivers (based on a theoretical minimum wage salary) have put in over £26,300 of time, free, to transport wildlife casualties/orphans. (They have also offered to cover their own fuel as and when possible, purely because they are SO kind).
Our Admin Volunteers (based on a theoretical minimum wage salary) have put in over £28,000 of time, free, to coordinate transport jobs, to get almost 600 wildlife casualties/orphans to urgent medical/rehabilitative care.
HERE’S WHY IT’S TIME TO STEP UP/GROW UP AS AN ORGANISATION…
I realised in June 2022 (by which point we had coordinated the transport of almost 600 wildlife casualties to medical/rehab care and also advised members of the public on how to provide help for another 2000 wild lives) that there was a better way for UKWT to operate, where our incredible, kind, loving Drivers could help a great many more wildlife casualties/orphans... Instead of 100s, I realised that we could create a structure that could act as a helping human hand for 10,000s of wild lives by allocating teams of Volunteer Wildlife Transport Drivers to Rescues & Vet Practices, so that Practices & Rescues could contact 'their team' of Drivers directly, to ask for transport support, instead of Rescues & Practices having to go through our UKWT phone lines, to ask us to send a Driver.
I spent June - December 2022 getting that up and running (providing teams of Volunteer Wildlife Transport Drivers to Rescues and Vet Practices). By December 2022 demand had grown so much that we started struggling to meet it. By May 2023 we had been going round in circles for 5 months, trying to meet the demand on volunteer support alone and it was impossible.
From January 2023 to ‘now’ we have been stalled, as the demand for our services has grown so much that we can’t meet it (although we kept trying until I finally accepted that it was time for us to step up into a properly funded and more reliable organisation, with staff committing to a minimum total of 85hrs a week of dedicated wildlife loving effort).
With much thought - check out the 31 page proposal - I calculated that we required £30,000 to fund 6 months of staff and basic running costs. During those 6 months we will be able to step up all of our processes to immediately provide emergency transport to approx 10,000 wildlife casualties/orphans.
That’s only £3 per ‘life in need’. No other UK organisation else offers the very specific service that we do: supporting wildlife in the way that we do. It is an essential service and we need to be back up and running...
Once I have raised this £30K, am I going to be fundraising again in 6 months time? No... I have a whole funding plan laid out to set up over the next 6 months BUT we need to be up and running and offering both proof of services AND other bits of proof of how important what we do is, to get this funding long term. It's a catch 22: we need the funding short term, to secure funding for the very long term. xx